BENNINGTON, Vt. – In a 2011 semifinal rematch, the No. 1 Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team knocked off No. 4 Daniel Webster College Friday evening in the Mountaineer Athletic Center on the campus of SVC, 3-1, in a 2012 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinal.
The Mountaineers (23-6) beat the Eagles (16-11) with game scores of 25-9, 25-27, 25-14, and 25-14. Daniel Webster's second-set victory was the first set against a conference opponent that SVC has lost since the Mountaineers were blanked by Lesley University, 3-0, in the 2010 NECC semifinals.
Daniel Webster was able to go up a couple points early in the first set, stemming from the back-wall service of sophomore Sarah Durocher (Keene, N.H.). SVC was able to tighten its defense and gain the lead, stretching it to 7-3 before an Eagle timeout. DWC grabbed a point following the rest, but Southern Vermont continued to increase its advantage to 11-4.
SVC took minor leads in the second set before Daniel Webster started to gain its advantage. Eagle junior Ally Haden (Bedford, N.H.) served for three-straight points to go ahead 6-4. SVC stayed on the Eagles' heels throughout the set, able to tie the match a handful of times including a match-point salvage to bring the game to 24-24. DWC remained assertive and ended the game, 27-25.
The third set saw much of the same with the score toggling back and forth with the advantage. Mountaineer senior captain Alicia Manzo (Clovis, Calif.) stepped up and served for three-straight aces to take SVC out to a 12-8 lead. Flores added another couple aces as the Mountaineers started to pull away. Strong kills from senior captain Jessica Alvarez (Los Angeles, Calif.) put Southern Vermont comfortably ahead, eventually taking the game, 25-14.
SVC jumped out to a quick lead in the fourth and final game, taking a 5-2 lead in the early going. Eagle senior Jessica Finneran (Barnstead, N.H.) took to the service line and helped DWC chip away at the deficit, bring the match to 13-9 after serving for three-straight points. The Mountaineers again remained efficient, hitting only two errors in 28 attempts while winning the set, 25-14.
Mountaineer senior captain Danielle Healis (Escondido, Calif.) led all players with 14 kills, only committing one hitting error on 26 swings en route to a .500 hitting percentage. Senior captain Carrie Baltazar (Whittier, Calif.) recorded a match-high 32 assists for SVC. Manzo and Flores finished the night with five service aces each, while Baltazar had four; the team totaled 17 on the match. Delgado had a match-high 23 digs.
Eagle senior Chelsey Crawford (Westfield, Mass.) had a team-high nine kills, as Hayden helped set up the Daniel Webster attack with 19 assists. Senior captain Brier Temple (Concord, N.H.) and sophomore Maggie Belli (Miami, Fla.) each had 18 digs for the Eagles.
The Mountaineers will vie to defend their NECC title when they face Regis College in the championship match at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Southern Vermont. SVC defeated the Pride, 3-0, back on September 29 at Regis.